Climate Change Impacts for Conterminous USA: An Integrated Assessment Part 2. Models and Validation
As CO2 and other greenhouse gasses accumulate in the atmosphere and contribute to rising global temperatures, it is important to examine how a changing climate may affect natural and managed ecosystems. In this series of papers, we study the impacts of climate change on agriculture, water resources and natural ecosystems in the conterminous United States using a suite of climate change predictions from General Circulation Models (GCMs) as described in Part 1. Here we describe the agriculture model EPIC and the HUMUS water model and validate them with historical crop yields and streamflow data. We compare EPIC simulated grain and forage crop yields with historical crop yields from the US Department of Agriculture and find an acceptable level of agreement for this study. The validation of HUMUS simulated streamflow with estimates of natural streamflow from the US Geological Survey shows that the model is able to reproduce significant relationships and capture major trends.